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This site is created by Jim Laprel; avid runner, comic and blogger. See my schedule below for my latest comedy appearances. Click on my blogs to see my latest thoughts on the New England Patriots and the NFL, as well as other aspects of life.

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"
                          Lao-tzu Chinese philosopher ( 604-531 B.C. )

New York City Marathon

Nov 4, 2018 at the 22 mile mark 

Doing a set at Strange Brew Tavern Nov 26, 2018

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Here is an interview I did with a local newspaper about my running.

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My blog: "All Pats Talk". Read the latest on the three time Super Bowl Champions and the rest of the NFL. Get an "outsiders" viewpoint. (click here)

 

  

                                                            Comedy Shows

 

 

 

Tues, Oct 15      Winner's Circle

                           211 Elm St.  Salisbury, Mass.  8pm 

Thurs, Oct 17   Strange Brew Tavern 

                         16 Market St.  Manchester, NH  9pm

Thurs, Nov 21   Soho Restaurant

                          89 Lowell Rd.. Hudson, NH   7:30pm 

  Random Thoughts About Things

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Check's In The Mail Soon

 

I called the Assessor's Office at City Hall today about my auto Excise Tax bill. I received one for my new car after paying a bill for my previous one. I inquired about the abatement process.

The clerk handled it over the phone. She processed the tranaction and said I should receive a check in the mail in about a month. I will pay the bill I have for my new car.

This whole process went so smoothly that I wonder if something will get messed up. She was very courteous and processed my abatement in a matter of minutes.

The clock starts ticking on my check.

10:41 am edt 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Setting The Grid

 

I love learning about the history of New York City. I'm reading a book about the mapping of Manhattan to its current grid format. It goes back to a land surveyor who did the work under contract from 1811-1820. The layout of the streets and avenues remains mostly unchanged today.

The book has pictures of the maps from 1820 which clearly show Manhattan as it looks today. The big exception is Central Park. Back then, there was talk of having some type of central promenade, but the area occupied by the future Central Park was a shanty town filled with vagrants and indigents.

Homeless people have always been part of the city's fabric. Some of the problems of today are no different than back in the 1800's. It's just on a larger scale now.

 

3:23 pm edt 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Viva El Cortez

 

I was pleased to read about the El Cortez casino in Las Vegas being named to the National Register of Historical Places. The fine example of 20th century architecture with the classic neon signs received it back in February.

Located on Fremont St. in the Old Downtown section, it has survived in spite of many changes to the buildings around it. Las Vegas is a fascinating city that constantly tears itself down and rebuilds even bigger.

My first trip there was in 1993. I was able to see the remnants of some of the classic places like the Flamingo, Sahara , Riviera and many others from a time when the "Rat Pack" ruled the Strip and things were on a smaller scale.

My last trip was in 1997. I can't imagine how things have changed out there. Too many nice examples of buildings from 50's and 60's had a date with the wrecking ball.

It wasn't always progress.

10:29 pm edt 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Quincy Gets The Call

 

Any Hall Of Fame can be controversial regarding who gets elected. They are filled with questionable candidates, in some cases. You can never please everyone when the selections are announced. Some members get in too early, others too late and some not at all.

The induction of the legendary Quincy Jones to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is long overdue. He gets in with the infamous lifetime achievement award. It should have been done a long time ago. His resume is too long to outline here. He as 27 Grammy Awards from a record 79 nominations. His influence on today's music is too big to measure.

All I can say is welcome and what took so long?

4:30 pm edt 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Putting It Away

 

It's another beautiful spring day. Winter is in the rear-view mirror. It's time to get ready for some nice weather.

I also need to clean the trunk of my car. I no longer need my snow shovel, scraper or brush. They can all the put away until next winter. The same holds for my winter coats. It's time to take them to the cleaners. I'll also bring a few of my sweaters, but not all. It's still cool in the evenings. I'm not ready to break out the polo shirts yet.

4:08 pm edt 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Not Booking It

 

I saw a Facebook posting asking people for recommendations of audio-books for a long car trip. That's one thing I would never do. I listen to the radio or music CD's when I drive, but I don't think I could pay enough attention to a book.

I know several people who swear by it. They always listen to them on long trips. I never tried it, but I just don't think it would work out for me. I'm a slow reader to begin with. The amount of time it takes me to read a book or the newspaper is another story.

1:51 pm edt 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How Fresh Is It?

 

I'm very happy with my recent habit of buying fresh strawberries and eating them with blueberries. They make a great combination. The strawberries are very plump and sweet.

I often wonder how fresh some of this stuff really is. My last batch of strawberries had some that were very bruised in the bottom of the container. I give my vegetables and fruit a careful inspection, but you can't inspect every strawberry. The ones I bought today looked very good.

It's always a challenge to buy "fresh" produce.

1:53 pm edt 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

21 Is Wrong

 

I have a strong objection to the proposed law in New York City to prohibit the sale of cigarettes to those under the age of 21. This is so bizarre and any discussion borders on a waste of time.

I still feel that if you can die for this country, you should be able to smoke or drink legally. There is no doubt that smoking is bad. Nobody could ever make a strong argument in its favor.

My opposition to the under 21 law is because of excessive government regulations. They are trying to compare cigarettes to alcohol.

I object to the 21 year age requirement to buy liquor. A 20 year old kid returning as a GI from Iraq or Afghanistan would violate state liquor laws if he went out to celebrate and drank in a VFW or AMVETS club.


9:55 pm edt 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Time Passes Week To Week

 

It's now a week after the marathon. Soon it will be two weeks and then two months and so on. It will be in our rear-view mirror, but never forgotten. This was suppose to be my 75th marathon, but it ended abruptly for many of us.

Back in November, I tried to do my 75th in New York City, but the race was canceled because of Super Storm Sandy. I'll be making another attempt at #75 in November. Hopefully, things work out on the third try. You never know. 

2:37 pm edt 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Week Ago Tonight

 

A week ago at this time, I was trying to relax and get ready for bed at 10:30. I knew I would have a problem falling asleep because of the marathon the next day. It took forever before I got only a few hours of sleep.

I wondered how the day would play out. I never thought it would end the way it did. Things happened real fast. Life got turned upside down.

I picked up my medal today. It was kind of awkward for a race I never finished. I was trying so hard before they took my opportunity away from me.

9:23 pm edt 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Power Of One

 

We saw the event of our lifetime yesterday with the search for "Suspect 2" in the Boston Marathon bombings. There was an unprecedented lock-down in a large metropolitan area. An enormous army of law enforcement personnel did a house to house search in Watertown, but came up empty.

Around 6pm, the lock-down was lifted. A guy in Watertown went out in his yard with his wife to get some fresh air. He noticed the cover on his winterized boat had been disturbed and saw blood. He dialed 911 and rest is history.

Apparently, "Suspect 2" had been there all the time. If the lock-down had not been lifted, who knows how this might have played out. One citizen finally cracked the case by being vigilant.

9:51 am edt 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Today's End Game

 

A week ago at this time, I was looking forward to the 2013 Boston Marathon with great anticipation. When the carnage unfolded at the finish line, the race was stopped. That seems minuscule compared to those who died or were maimed.

The stakes have been raised with the events of today. One police officer was murdered, another wounded, and "Suspect 1" is dead. There is a major lock-down in Watertown, Cambridge, Boston, Newton, Belmont and Brookline. We have never seen anything like this before. When will it end? How will it end?

We are certainly watching history being written before our eyes. The suspects have a connection to Chechyna. At first, I thought it was a couple of Columbine type of kids.

The story will change with the killing or capture of the remaining suspect. It could lead us to some real ugly facts about who they are and what motivated them to do this. I'm sure they won't be the last.

1:12 pm edt 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

To Pay Or Not To Pay

 

Governments at all levels have initiated laws to regulate labor conditions. Many have certainly helped the working conditions and protected the personal rights of individuals.

One of the biggest controversies facing us is whether private businesses should be forced to provide paid sick days to their employees. There are many bills before various state legislatures trying to come up with the best solution.

I worked for the federal government and got 13 paid days per year. It was a great benefit to have as an employee, but what do you do with small businesses that can't afford the extra cost?

Many businesses have an issue providing unpaid days. Employees often fear losing their job if they stay home when they are sick or to attend to a family member. 

In the end, whatever decision is made will be based on the bottom-line financial cost. It's a controversy that won't go away anytime soon.

2:14 pm edt 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Two Days After

 

It's amazing to watch the Marathon Bombing story unfold in front of 24/7 media coverage. The Cuban Missile Crisis might have been different with this much attention, but that's how it is.

This is such a story. A day of infamy. How do you compare it to 9/11? Two different days. Who did it?

I wonder if we are ready to deal with where this investigation might go. It might not be pretty.

10:15 pm edt 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Where Does The Road Go?

 

It seems hard to believe when you hear the words "Boston Marathon Bombing" in the news That's the title for all of the news shows. In this day of 24/7 coverage, no detail is left out. At times, it looks like the news is on a continual loop. The same stuff shows up after an hour or two.

I wonder how this will all end up. Who did it? Was it foreign or domestic people? Nobody knows at this point. I have no doubt that they will find out sooner rather than later. What will the response be?

Nobody really knows at this point. We can speculate forever without coming up with the truth. The story is being written before our eyes.  I never wanted to be part of such a horrible story.

The Boston Marathon was always meant to be a celebration and a passage of spring. It's been around for 117 years and will go on. The race will outlive us all.

 

11:44 pm edt 

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Ending of the Day

 

The events of today were quite shocking. I was lying in bed at 4am wondering how my day in the Boston Marathon would go. I was dealing with an ongoing issue of patella tendinitis in my left knee. It got real bad last week. I struggled throughout the race.

It all changed at 18 miles when I heard of the explosions at the finish line. I ran another two miles before we were pulled off the race course.

It was a senseless tragedy. It reinforced my belief that you never know how things will work out. You can make all the plans in the world, but you never know if you are going to make it home at the end of the day. Life is very unpredictable and can change in a moment.

Today is ending in a few minutes. Tomorrow is another day. You never know what might happen.

11:56 pm edt 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Giving It Another Kick

 

Women's soccer will attempt to start their third professional league. The first two were financial disasters, in spite of the game's popularity. This time, it will be different. The soccer federations from several countries will be subsidizing a few players from each team. There will be a $200,000 salary cap for per squad. This will force most players to work part-time jobs.

Will this be the recipe for success? I have my doubts. Women's soccer has a very hard-core and devoted fan base, but without a television contract, I think the prospects for long term survival are slim.

Fans will buy tickets and attend the games. Some sponsors have signed up, but the overhead costs for plane flights, hotels, medical staffs and other fixed costs will be too much of a burden.

I hope the league survives because it's a way of building the sport in this country. Amateur soccer provides a healthy athletic outlet for women of all ages.

Men's professional soccer continues to survive, but has its own issues. Although the game has caught on in this country, the league continues to face economic instability. 

10:26 am edt 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bad Looking Apples

 

Apple computer stores are noted for their glass box style. They are very modernistic. I'm not a fan of the one in Boston. It's totally out of character for the neighborhood. It's located on Boylston St in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston.

The design was controversial when first proposed, but the final result looks terrible. Some feel that the historic nature of the Back Bay stifles any type of creativity in building design. Preservation groups can get Draconian in their demands for conformity, but I'm not sure what happened in the case of the store in Boston.

I've seen two of their stores in New York City. The one in the Meatpacking District looks awesome. They preserved a turn of the century building. The store fits well in the neighborhood. I can't say the same about the one on Fifth Ave and 59th St. It's another glass box that looks totally out of character with the neighborhood.

Their newest one in Grand Central Station is very controversial. I'm looking forward to checking it out.

11:01 pm edt 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Always Being Carted Around

 

Whenever kids play, it's always some type of organized activity. There are many to choose from. I think parents over-indulge their children starting at an early age.

I overheard a conversation today while in line at the market. The mother was telling the cashier about her busy schedule. She lamented that her car was always messy because she was carting her kids to either karate or lacrosse.

This cracked me up. When I was a kid, only adults did martial arts. I recently saw a picture of someone's kid doing karate at the age of three. I guess there is no age limit as long as you can pay.

The same goes for lacrosse. The game has exploded in popularity. When I was at UMass, the only kids who played were from a few wealthy Boston suburbs. Other than that, they were from New Jersey or Long Island.

I recently saw a Facebook comment by someone carting their pre-schoolers from swimming lessons to karate. So many kids stop doing this stuff when they get older and can make their own decisions

With all these hectic schedules, families no longer eat together and spend their time eating fast food in the car. Kids begin a life of bad nutrition habits.

 

4:29 pm edt 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It Was The Batteries

 

I still have my telephone in my bedroom. Land lines are becoming a dying breed. I'm not ready to give mine up.

I bought the phone a couple of years ago. I needed one with a display for caller ID. Everything was going fine until the other day. The display was getting dimmer until it disappeared. At first, I thought I might have a problem with the phone.

After a few moments, I realized that the batteries must be dead. I opened the back of the phone and replaced the. All is well now.

It was a little puzzling to me why I didn't first think of the batteries. I should have known right from the start, but it took me a few minutes to figure that one out.

 

2:14 pm edt 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Never Really Done

 

Benjamin Franklin was right when he said that the only two sure things in life are death and taxes. It still holds true for today.

I also feel that you can never have all of your laundry and dishes done. When they are, it's only for that brief moment. Eventually, more dishes get put in the sink and laundry builds up. It's a never ending cycle.

Another thing that you couldn't possibly stay ahead of is cleaning your residence. Whether you own a home or rent like me, it never really gets done. The bathroom is only clean until its next use. Then, the cycle starts all over again.

I did two loads of laundry today and my sink is empty of dishes. I vacummed my rooms, but the bathroom still needs a lot of attention.

Food shopping is never really done. I'll be going this afternoon to spend my money, but it only lasts until I start to run out of things. 

 

1:04 pm edt 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Saying No To Harvard

 

The endowment fund of Harvard University is bigger than the annual GNP of many nations. They are the richest university in the world. Their ability to accumulate wealth is unmatched.

I subscribe to a couple of health newsletters from Harvard Medical School. They are very informative about different aspects of health.

I was shocked to receive a request from the school to consider giving them a charitable gift annuity. Every dollar counts, but what they could get from me would be a small drop in the bucket. It might not even be a drop.

They must send this to all of their subscribers. Am I suppose to feel flattered that Harvard would reach out to me? 

If I had wealth, I would cut big checks to UMass on a regular basis. I donate annually, but there will never be a building with my name on it.

9:49 am edt 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Overused Expressions

 

People always copy expressions of others. There are some that I can't stand and never use. One of them is "Go for it".  It's way overused by everyone. They say it for almost anything. It could be for setting a goal or grabbing the last piece of dessert.

I also dislike "Get my ducks in order". It's another one I've never used and have no intention of uttering. In my former career, the work environment was filled with cliches such as "Getting behind the numbers" and "Kicking it up a notch". It got to the point where I felt resentment when I heard them.

The expression I hated the most was "Read my lips". I thought George H.W. Bush used it very effectively during his Presidential campaign. One of my former co-workers used it to the point where it was  a source of irritation to everyone who heard it.

I have more respect for someone who comes up with their own ideas. It's easy to copy someone. It doesn't take any effort.

10:54 am edt 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Case of the Pillow

 

Yesterday was National Pillow Fight Day. They had one in Boston which gathered a huge crowd. I'm surprised they allowed something like this. We live in a "Nanny State" filled with "helicopter parents" and overprotection from virtually anything that could be potentially harmful.

Somehow, they were able to pull this off. I think it was lame and a total waste of time. When the media stops covering nonsense like this, these things will go away. Until then, we will be forced to hear another story about this next year.

1:25 pm edt 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Controlling The Towers

 

The recent budget stalemate in Congress is showing how ineffective our leaders can be at time. The sequestration will create hardships for many, especially for federal employees who will take a 20% pay-cut due to furlough days.

We are constantly hearing examples of foolish actions that will soon be taking place. One of the most outrageous is being postponed. It involved closing the control towers at a number of small airports across the country. It's hard to believe that this was to take place. 

The FAA announced that the towers will continue to operate. If anything were to happen to a plane and its passengers, the ultimate blame game and finger pointing would take place. It would not be out of concern for the victims. The politicians would be trying to cover their backs. The public reaction would be devastating.

9:10 pm edt 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Just Say No To Limos

 

I saw a very long limousine today. They are all over the place. Prom season will certainly bring more of them out. Kids ride in them like it's nothing. It's normal for a bunch of 10 year olds to ride to a birthday party. It gets a bit much at times.

My experience in limousines has never been positive. It was always about family funerals. I never got married so that eliminates one chance. I was in three weddings, but always took my own car.

If I never ride in another one, I'm ok with that. Other than weddings and funerals, I think they are frivolous and a waste on money. I guess it's the thing to do if you want to party with a bunch of people  on the way to an event.

You better hope you have a good driver. You never know with them. He might have knocked back a few at home before he left.

8:37 pm edt 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

An Easy Break

 

People make it easier for thieves to break into cars by leaving valuable items out in view. I see it all the time. It doesn't matter where it is. People often don't lock their car when it's parked in their driveway.

A recent initiative by the NYPD in certain Brooklyn neighborhoods is being met with mixed comments. Police are snapping photos of cars who are displaying their contents and then emailing the picture to the owner, along with a caution to have them removed from sight.

I think this sounds like a good idea, but others don't agree. When police snap the picture, they also learn the registration and license status of the owner. They can determine if there are any outstanding arrest warrants for them.

Some feel that this is an invasion of privacy. They have a valid point, but their lazy attitude about the contents of their car is contributing to the crime problem.

Whenever there is a rash of car breaks in a neighborhood, you can count on a number of owners who didn't look their car or secure the contents.

2:04 pm edt 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Scooting Along

 

The aging process is not always kind to everyone. Some people die young and never get old. Advancements in health care have lead to longer lives. The issue now is "quality of life".

A recent study by Medicare said that 80% of the people who use the little motorized scooters for mobility would be better off it they used a cane or walker. I have no idea how they came up with this conclusion.

AARP publications always contain ads for these products. They try to entice the elderly into using them rather than a walker or cane. I can understand how things get to that point.

There are many people who have no option because of various health concerns. I hope I never get to that point. 

2:27 pm edt 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Going For Broke

 

Commercials and advertisements often make claims that cannot be verified. They end up misleading the public with their statements.

A financial advisory company makes a very dubious claim on a local radio station. They say that the majority of Americans are more concerned about outliving their money in retirement than they are with disease and dying.

I find this claim to be preposterous. I would rather get older and be broke than have a disease or die. Why do they say foolish things like this? Whoever wrote the ad is just throwing things out there for effect.

They might have more credibility if it was from the Gallup Poll.

1:29 am edt 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Everyone Must Be Honored

 

The Boston Globe announced their high school "All-Scholastic" teams for winter sports. The entire process is a farce because too many students are on the teams.

Basketball is a joke. First they have the "Super-Team" with five players and then another ten on the "All-Scholastic". Each league has their own "All-Star" teams with even more players.

The other sports are just as bad. With so many selected, the team becomes meaningless. I'm sure it's like this because every parent wants their precious one to be honored. The easiest thing to do is to make everyone a star.

4:46 pm edt 


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